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That “Magic Time” Of Housetraining​

Teaching your dog how to go to the bathroom outside.

“Magic time, get busy, hurry up, do your business”, are just a few possible cues for housetraining. Regardless of what you decide to call it, housetraining is an essential part of raising a puppy.

For young puppies between 8 and 16 weeks of age, you should bring them outside every half hour to an hour for the greatest housetraining success. This schedule is important to ensure that the training is consistent.

Below are my simple instructions for housetraining. Read and follow this guide carefully to maximize your housetraining success.

Housetraining Tips

Be prepared before getting started!!!

  • Every time your dog needs to go to the bathroom, clip the leash to your dog and go outside.
  • If the leash confuses your dog, then do not hold the leash. Instead, allow your dog to start out the first few days going to the bathroom with the leash dragging on the ground. If you don’t want to let your puppy off leash, you can buy a 30 or 50 foot long line. (If you find the leash is too stressful to your dog to start, bring your dog to an enclosed area where he/she will not run away.) After a few days hold the leash while allowing your dog to go to the bathroom.
  • Hold the leash: If you feel you can, hold the leash while your dog goes to the bathroom. This keeps them from running and zooming away after they finish going to tinkle town. Instead, you can reward your dog immediately after going to the bathroom.
  • Bring high value treats: Make sure to ALWAYS bring a handful of high value treats with you. If you are using a clicker, bring it as well.
  • Keep a bathroom log: Keeping a bathroom log in a notebook sounds silly, but it actually becomes quite helpful. A notebook helps keep track of your dog’s bathroom habits for a couple of months and track your progress. At the end of this article is a sample bathroom log.


The Steps:

  • Step 1: Let your dog sniff around until they find the right spot.
  • Step 2: As your dog squats down to go to the bathroom, softly say your cue “Magic Time” one time.
  • Step 3: As soon as your dog finishes, praise them with the word “Yes” or “Good Dog.” Also, use your clicker and reward your dog with 3 treats (one at a time) for doing a good job! (Make sure to reward your dog with a treat within 3 seconds of going to the bathroom. This helps your dog learn quicker.)


Additional Advice

  • Be very consistent with housetraining so that it translates outdoors. After your dog goes to the bathroom, allow your dog to have free time out of the crate or pen.
  • If your dog does not go to the bathroom and you feel they need to go, then place your dog back in their crate. Wait 10-15 minutes and take your dog back out to go to the bathroom. Do this until your dog goes to the bathroom, then give them free time.
  • Stay Alert!!! Your puppy may need to go to the bathroom after a meal, after play, during or after a stressful event, during or after being overly excited, shortly after a walk or even after a training session.
  • Download our Free Puppy Guide for more tips!


Troubleshooting Tips

  • If you are not already doing so, use a crate to help during the housetraining process.
  • Sometimes dogs need 10 to 30 minutes to go to the bathroom! Give your dog time to walk, sniff and find their spot!
  • Running and playing outside with your dog can help get their body moving which can help them eliminate. Play fetch, Frisbee, running recall, hide and seek, use a flirt pole or go for a walk.
  • You should take puppies between 8 weeks and 4 months of age out every 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  • If your dog has an accident, do not yell, hit or shove their face in it! This can create fear and might make them hide the next time he needs to go. Just clean the mess up and move on! Accidents happen!
  • Sometimes puppies who constantly have accidents in their crates/pen could have giardia or other parasites. Get a vet check to rule this out.
  • Make sure to take your dog outside after eating a meal (within 5 minutes to an hour after eating). Some dogs need to go right after eating and some may need a period of time to digest before going. Regardless, it’s good practice to bring your dog out after eating.

Sample Bathroom Log:

Date Time The Business Name of responsible individual
9/12/18 6:05am Peed & Pooped Anthony
9/12/18 6:55am Accident-peed in kitchen Everyone screwed up ☺ lol
9/12/18 8:00am Peed Jennifer
Dog peeing on fire hydrant

This is Max….I will pretend like I trained him to do this!


Anthony De Marinis specializes in working with dogs with severe behavior issues, specifically with aggressive behavior. He provides comprehensive in-home and virtual behavior consultations, as well as dog training services across Long Island, NY. (Online Virtual Consultations for aggression and behavior modification are also available for clients who are local and out of state.) Anthony has seven professional certifications which include: Certified Dog Behavior Consultant from the International Association for Animal Behavior Consultants, Accredited Dog Trainer by the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, Licensed Family Dog Mediator (LFDM), Fear Free Certified Training Professional (FFCP), Certified Graduate of distinction from the Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training & Behavior, Certified Behavior Adjustment Trainer, and The Third Way Certified Trainer. Anthony currently has an interest in training and behavior modification in Working & Sport bred dogs. He is also learning about and currently competing in agility and sheep herding. Anthony has two Australian Kelpies, Journey and Quest, both of which are training in agility and sheep herding.

October 21, 2018